Grow Christian, Grow!
When we were in seminary, I often visited with a friend as our children played together. On several occasions, she shared about difficult things going on in her life. Each time she would say, “I can see God sitting up in heaven and saying,”‘Grow Christian, Grow.” [She’d drop her voice to imitate a low male voice.]
I’ve thought of my friend often in the last few weeks as I picture God up in Heaven, smiling down on me, saying, “I love you, child, but it’s time to (with low voice) Grow Christian, Grow.” The picture helps me to remember that hard times are good. God has a purpose in all things, and even though the days are sometimes long or difficult, this will ultimately be for my good and hopefully good for His Kingdom. Remembering those things helps me to press on.
My current class requiring growth began in early December with two encounters with God’s Word. First, Ephesians 5:20 convicted me that I need to give thanks to God always for all things. I had become aware of discontentment and murmuring, and the verse reminded me to work on being consistently grateful to God, trying to see life from His perspective, and trying to focus on Him, not on circumstances.
Within a week, while still in the process of learning to be grateful, another verse hit hard. Colossians 3:23 reminded me to do my work heartily, as for the Lord, not for me. While the confrontation was stronger, there was a bit of an “aha!” because it was an answer to prayer. It provided the key to bring peace where I had been struggling but hadn’t been able to figure out what my problem was.
I was grateful for God’s goodness and patience to mold and make me, even in areas where He’s spoken clearly in the past. It amazes me that He never gives up. However, the lesson didn’t end there. This class has a lab attached.
The day before Christmas, my mother-in-law became bed-ridden, and much of her care is my responsibility. Those verses were not just words of correction. They were words of preparation and guidelines for the days and weeks ahead. In all things, I need to be grateful and do my work as unto Him.
God has graciously provided help and strength for each day, but I’ve learned a secret. When my heart is right, His grace is sufficient. However, if I’m judging, not grateful, or not doing my work as unto the Lord, I don’t feel His grace. If I want to experience His grace, it’s time for me to “Grow Christian, Grow.” Some days it seems that I may some day learn the lessons at hand. On others, it’s a good thing I have a loving husband who takes up the slack when I fail.
God continues to guide my education. At church, we are studying Galatians. This morning, I looked back over chapter 5, before reading chapter 6. God highlighted the following as I read (from NASB). The verses speak for themselves, detailing my assignments.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control … If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23, 25)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” (Galatians 6:11)
I know Paul was speaking of writing with his own hand to the Galatians. However, they could just as well be God’s words written in large letters just to me. Some moments in my present circumstance may seem difficult, but God is gently reminding me to keep my eyes on Him, my trust in Him, and to embrace Him in the process because it’s time to “Grow Christian, Grow.”
Psalms 27:1, 4 1The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
4One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
David declared the LORD to be his light and his salvation. It was the presence of the LORD in his life that enabled him to see things as they really were, that kept him from stumbling in the darkness. It was the presence of the LORD in his life that saved him out of all his difficulties. The LORD was his salvation. He didn’t lean on self to understand or to get him out of danger. He recognized that his help came from the LORD.
He goes on to say that men cannot make him afraid. If God is sovereign, and He has become my light and my salvation, what can man do to me? With the LORD as his stronghold, he always knew where to run for safety. Do you turn to God first in all your fears and concerns? Is He your light and salvation, the stronghold of your life? Without that, men will cause you to fear. Situations will overwhelm you. With that assurance, you will always know that the will of the God who loves you will be done. He will see you through anything men or demons can dish out.
And if you are called home, you will be in His presence forever. What is the worst man can do -kill me? Then I will end up where I long to be, gazing upon the beauty of the LORD and seeking Him in His heavenly dwelling place. David may have been referring to the tabernacle, but I think his mind moved from the earthly to the reality in heaven. His great desire was to spend eternity gazing upon God. Somewhere in those years of shepherding or training under Saul, he must have had a vision of the beauty of God. That became the one thing his soul sought after. We need a vision like that so that He becomes our singular focus. Then, if illness strikes, or men threaten, like the Apostle Paul, we can say, “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Streams In The Desert – October 3
- 20213 Oct
And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness” (1 Kings 19:12, RV margin.)
A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied tersely, “Mind the checks.”
And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt. A steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr to your face. A small voice, quietly, almost timidly spoken in your heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clearer to your inner ear.
His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even faintest whispers. There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in. He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches. In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech.
When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from standpoint of human wisdom.
Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will in the end make “all things work together,” but so many times in the first appearance of the outworking of His plans,
“In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.”
So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. He Himself will be gloriously light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together, even in severest testings and under most terrible pressures.
–Way of Faith
A Covenant Relationship
“Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David … Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.” – 1 Samuel 20:16-17 NASB
Jonathan’s father, King Saul, was willing to make commitments, but also was known to change his mind later and not follow through. As a result, others were not always sure what he would do or what he believed. Jonathan had to go to extra lengths to learn how Saul felt about David.
In contrast, Jonathan understood that his word was his bond. His commitments were real commitments. His agreements were agreements, regardless of circumstances.
He understood the importance of a covenant relationship. He knew that people who agree to covenants are committed to each other and will keep their promises. Even after Jonathan died in battle, David remembered their covenant and kept the promises they made to each other (2 Samuel 9:113).
This is important in our relationship with God because He is a God of covenants (Genesis 6:18). He always keeps His Word, which never changes regardless of circumstances. God looks for people who understand these principles and know that His Word really is true and so trustworthy that their word is their bond in their relationship with Him and others.
People in the world may change their minds, reinterpret their words, or forget their commitments when convenient. But you always can trust in God! Base your life on His changeless Word. And seek to be a person who keeps your word, who is faithful in your relationships with God and others.